As the University of Akron’s new offense goes through its paces, quarterback by quarterback this spring, it’s apparent that the right guy will have to assume the reins once the Zips begin the 2012 season.
Throughout the practice Thursday morning, coach Terry Bowden could be heard shouting: “Tempo! Tempo! Tempo!”
When hired, he promised an attacking offense, and there’s every indication that he plans to deliver on that promise. There are no huddles, and the engine making everything run is the man who gets the ball from the center.
“They have to be able to comprehend the offense and comprehend the whole thing because I don’t have a bunch of cards out there and send my offensive signals from one coach to another,” Bowden said.
Bowden doesn’t hesitate for a second when asked what characteristics are most important for whoever wins the quarterback job.
“It’s accuracy and decision-making,” he said.
But it’s difficult not to go back to that comprehension thing.
“I give everything to the quarterback, and he has to put everyone in place. I give him the entire [offensive] line blocking scheme, running back movement, receiver adjustments, the signal cadence and he has to decide what to change it to,” Bowden said. “I have to have someone who can grasp and comprehend the system. He’s got to be a pretty bright guy.”
This offense is new to the Zips with one important exception — senior transfer Dalton Williams. He spent four years running a version of the spread at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.
“Coach Bowden brought me up here. I was planning on going with him to [North Alabama], and he came up here and I got the opportunity to join the team,” said Williams, a native of Coppell, Texas.
UNA’s loss could be the Zips’ gain. Williams is working with the first-team offense, and that prior experience in the offense is showing up early.
“It’s really pretty simple. It’s the simplest you can find,” he said of the system. “We do what we do and we do it good. We believe it’s going to get the job done.”
What makes the system work?
“Just belief — belief in the system and belief in the coaches and that will take you a long way,” he said.
The Zips could use a new offense, considering they ranked near the bottom of the Mid-American Conference in every significant offensive category last season.
Bowden has said that every job is open, including the quarterback position, and that Williams arrived on the UA campus under no illusions and with no promises.
With seven quarterbacks on the spring roster, saying that things are fluid is an understatement. Williams has to compete against incumbent Clayton Moore, Patrick Nicely and newcomer Tyrell Goodman, who has opened Bowden’s eyes with his accuracy.
It’s a situation that Williams likes.
“It’s a chance to compete. It’s the chance to be part of a team,” he said. “Everyone knows that every spot is open, and it’s open competition that will make our team better.”
George M. Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Zips blog at http://www.ohio.com/zips. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.